Dwyane Wade told his ex-wife to expect legal action after she filed her own lawsuit accusing the retired NBA star of guiding his younger son’s gender transition into a girl in order to profit from it.
Mr. Wade posted a statement Thursday on Instagram that said, “No one in our house would ever force Zaya or any of our children to do anything against their will, much less force an identity on them.”
He concluded by saying his lawyer will be in contact with her.
That came after ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches-Wade went to court to stop the four-time NBA champion from legally changing son Zion’s name to Zaya, a process Mr. Wade reportedly began in August.
Mr. Wade won sole custody of older son Zaire and younger son Zion in 2011 after a lengthy divorce with Ms. Funches-Wade. Zion, now 15, came out as transgender at 12 years old and has since identified as Zaya.
Ms. Funches-Wade claimed in court documents obtained Wednesday by the New York Post that Mr. Wade “is positioned to profit from the minor child’s name and gender change with various companies through contacts and marketing opportunities including but not limited to deals with Disney.”
According to Ms. Funches-Wade’s court filing, Mr. Wade told his ex-wife that “a lot of money had already been made” in regards to Zaya’s gender transition.
Zaya was at the meeting with both parents, per the documents, and confirmed to Ms. Funches-Wade that Disney was one of the companies interested in partnering on endorsements and contracts with the child.
Ms. Funches-Wade wants Zaya to hold off on going forward with the gender transition until the teen turns 18, and said “there will likely be media pressure on the minor child,” according to the documents.
Mr. Wade doesn’t need Ms. Funches-Wade‘s consent to carry out the name change because he was awarded sole custody of Zaya.
In his Thursday statement, Mr. Wade called Ms. Funches-Wade an absentee mother who hasn’t been to a recital or practice in years, nor has she taken the time to talk with Zaya’s teachers, doctors and therapists.
“While none of us are surprised by Siohvaughn’s attempt to fight Zaya’s identity and her unwavering attempt to drag my name through the mud, I’m very disappointed that she continuously find [sic] ways of centering herself and her needs, without regard to her children,” Mr. Wade wrote.
The former NBA player said during a 2020 interview on Good Morning America that Zaya had known about being female since age 3.
• Matt Delaney can be reached at email@example.com.
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